Since the beginning of the mobile telephone age, Kenya has known only one prefix – 07xxx.

It is unclear how this was arrived it, but it has served Kenyans well. Different countries have different prefixes, but many African countries tend to gravitate towards 07.

Now, it appears Kenya has outgrown a single prefix.

Communication Authority of Kenya has announced the release of a new prefix – 01xxxx. This is only an additional prefix, and the existing 07xx will continue to work. The use of the new prefix will take effect immediately.

“The introduction of the new mobile numbering prefix 01 is in line with National Numbering Plan developed in 2002 by Authority, in consultation with ICT industry operators, the public and other stakeholders…..According to the plan, each prefix provides for a capacity of 100 million numbers.” CA said in a statement.

While the number of Kenyans is way less than 100 million, sim cards could well have exceeded the figure. Many subscribers have more than one sim card, often of different networks.

Also, there is increased use of sim cards for machine to machine communications eg. bank agents, supermarket points of sale etc.

CA revealed that they have already allocated Safaricom and Airtel 2 million and 3 million numbers respectively.